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Major Announcement Expected on Innerbelt Bridge Project

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CLEVELAND -- Ohio Governor John Kasich will make a major announcement Thursday morning concerning the construction timetable of Cleveland's new Innerbelt Bridge. The westbound span of the bridge is well on the way to completion, with a scheduled opening in the fall of 2013.

But budget problems have plagued the timetable for the second, eastbound phase, of the project. At one point, state administrators feared the second phase would not even start until 2023. The Ohio Department of Transportation later said the project might be completed by 2019, still a long way off.

Fox 8 News has learned that the state now has devised a funding plan that could get the eastbound phase of the project completed by 2016. The plan would involve letting contractors obtain funding themselves, and the state would then pay the contractors over a period of time.

Council member Joe Cimperman says the news is exciting. 

"What does the neighborhood think about it?  We are ecstatic. If the money comes from this source or that source, we really don't care.  We need to get the bridge done. Restaurants in Tremont, people who live downtown, the businesses, people have endured. We are fine with it, we just want to get it done. It has been way too long," he said.

Governor Kasich will hold a news conference at 11 a.m Thursday with details of the plan.